Model and singer Sky Ferreira‘s wet, naked and somewhat saddening album cover has been pretty controversial over the last few months. She’s finally speaking out about it (and her thoughts on feminism) in this week’s issue of NME.

Sky says:

“You’re supposed to sell your body in a way that’s like… it’s OK to be sexy when it benefits everyone else. Most of the people who had a problem with it were men. At this point, I feel like I’m doing a bad job of being a feminist if I’m not making someone angry.”
But I’m making art and doing things that are true to my work. I’m not trying to sell my body. But it’s my body to sell if I did want to! This kind of cover isn’t even what sells – what sells is your face, shot by a fashion photographer, but I didn’t want to do something like that. I do that all the time.”

I find Sky’s comments on the her album art imagery (as well as the firestorm it created) really thought-provoking, especially in light of the way feminism, women’s sexuality, and women’s bodies have been discussed throughout 2013. You know, the arguments over whether Beyonce is a feminist or is the right kind of feminist, the arguments over whether or not Miley Cyrus is a cultural appropriator (Yes, in my opinion) or whether she’s been consistently slut-shamed (Again, yes, in my opinion), the discussions around selfies, Rashida Jones and her comments on “acting like whores” and baby weight pressures and public masturbation on the subway and a girl kicked off the football team for giving male teammates impure thoughts on and on and on. I could have fit even more ands and even more links into that crazy run-on sentence, because it seems like every day there’s a new controversy, a new discussion.

And often, it’s journalists, writers, and bloggers like me who create the controversy, who direct the cultural conversations around feminism and women’s imagery in the media. It seems much more rare that we get to hear from the actual famous woman about her actual goals with her image and her body and what it means to her, at least aside from details about someone’s weight loss or struggle with an eating disorder. Sky’s comments about “selling” her body, commodification, and remaining true to herself are especially interesting considering she began her career as a model. But I’m most intrigued by what she says about her feminism, that she doesn’t feel like she’s being a good feminist if she’s not making people angry.

I understand that. We feminists are often called “angry,” and though I think that’s a stereotype that’s kind of outdated, there is some truth to it. Feminism is still about shaking up the status quo, about fixing inequalities, about pointing out the problems inherent in everything from the media to the work world to academia—everywhere women are trying to do things as human beings, so…everywhere. If you’re not making some people angry with your feminism, with your dialogue, with your argument, you’re probably not achieving anything truly feminist. And there is much to remain angry about in our world.

UPDATE: Sky tweeted about the reaction to her comments:



Whether her comments in the NME interview were taken out of context or not, I still appreciate what she had to say about her art, her career, and how she sees herself and her music fitting into a feminist framework.

Photo: Getty Images